Sometimes a builder will tell you, “sign with us and we’ll do the design for free”. What this really means is either a) we will bury the cost of the bad design in the total and inflate the contract price so that you will never know what it costs or b) we will be recycling the last design we did with a few modifications to save on the amount of work required. Nobody is ever fooled when a builder offers an appliance package ‘for free’ with the purchase of a home.Simplified builder plans with minimum details may be enough to obtain a building permit but they often require a significant amount of interpretation by the builder and his consultants that will result in extras, delays, unintended design issues, bad design or all the above. When a project is independently sourced by the builder (all trades and materials) it presents an inherent conflict of interest. There is leverage that comes from having an independent consultant, free from any conflict of interest, that gives you assurance that you are not ever in the dark about what is going on and that cost will be monitored and controlled. Every builder is eligible for material and fixture discounts anywhere from 15% to 30% and even 50%. This gives the builder an advantage because you are buying materials at retail. Cost are hidden and the builder makes more money! Remember, a 10% savings for a builder on a $1M project is $100K in reduced value that you will never know about. My fee can in fact pay for itself in terms of ensuring you get the full value for your money, by doing things right the first time, avoiding costly failures and mistakes, and specifying quality materials and finishes at a cost we all know before starting construction.
How many residential projects start blindly, with some vague or unrealistic assumption of cost per square foot that ends up shocking clients in the long run and forcing additional refinancing to complete the project? Years of experience in dealing with the game of construction, we can monitor agreements that can limit and eliminate these kinds of games, and that can hold all parties to a more transparent, honest and fair process. Our fee will result in a superior home as a result! Rather than reducing services and offering rock-bottom fees, we act in the owner’s best interests as an advocate, to see that the best quality materials and workmanship is implemented. Something we mentioned to you that we do is to create a cost estimate, this estimate hides nothing. We can even provide line items for builder profit (when working with a custom builder), permanent fixture costs as well as any other contingencies. This is always in your best interest. When all the numbers on the table, a builder will be required to play fair or not play at all. The benefit is, as previously discussed, we are in control of the selections, the cost and the procedure. In addition, detailed plans and specs provide a clear guide to the builder and yourselves as the home owner. Contractors know what they are bidding on and you know exactly what you are getting.
Superior design always includes better comfort, better energy efficiency, higher quality finishes and construction, ethically-sourced and unique materials and improved durability. We will review whether Building Code requirements are being upheld by the builder, but also the compliance with the design and the overall quality of the project. There is no contract with any builder that can guarantee good workmanship. Good workmanship needs to be closely monitored. The sign of a good builder is when the process is respected. It is our goal, as always, to build a cooperative team to give you a home that exceeds your expectations.